Thursday, May 10, 2007

May 9, 2007

[ ] History of the English Bible
[ ] Tonie Martin Lewis
[ ] Eritrea Arrests 80 Presbyterians
[ ] Covenant College's Report On Soulforce
[ ] Wallace to Leave Johnson C. Smith
[ ] Russian Patriarch Is Alive
[ ] German Churches to Sign Agreement On Baptism
[ ] Polish Reformed Urge Action on Darfur
[ ] School District Ordered to Pay Damages

American Vision is offering a free copy of the CD-ROM on the History of the English Bible. The 25-volume series called The History of the English Bible was produced by the late Lewis Lupton who for many years was the Scripture Union illustrator. All 25 volumes are contained on a fully-searchable and printable CD-ROM. This rare set of hardbacks is valued at $1,000 and is virtually impossible to by as a complete set! Click here <to">>to download and view Volume 5. This CD-ROM is our FREE gift to you--no purchase necessary. Actual shipping applies to non-US residents requesting the CD. The original series is one of my most prized possessions. I am pleased that the Christian Observer had a part in promoting the current edition of the authentic Geneva Bible and few things could make me happier than to see my friend's work of art distributed widely. The sample volume is in standard print. Most of the original volumes were hand done and magnificently illustrated by one of the great 20th Century English artists.

The entire offer is connected to the Geneva Bible and can be found at:

+ Dr. Edwin P. Elliott, President, Christian Observer Foundation, 9400
Fairview Avenue, Manassas, Virginia 20110


Tonie Martin Lewis, 28, daughter of Sherrie Martin and wife of Trey Lewis, died 1 May when her car rolled over her in the driveway of her Greenwood home. Mrs, Martin is director of Academic Services and registrar at Erskine Theological Seminary.

+ Erskine Seminary, Bowie Divinity Hall, 210 West Main St., PO Box 668,
+ Due West, SC 29639


A police raid in the Eritrean capital arrested 80 members of the Mehrete Yesus Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Asmara at the close of a 29 April worship service. A US couple as well as several teachers from India working in Eritrea was among those reportedly detained. According to a spokesperson for Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Pastor Zecharias Abraham, had been serving as head of the Eritrean Evangelical Alliance, since the arrest of the previous leader, Haile Naizgi, in May 2004.

Local sources confirmed that after four days of incarceration, the two US citizens were released and allowed to return to their home in Asmara. Church leaders identified as still under custody included the Abraham and an elder named Mikias Mekonnen. The latest raid against Eritrea's Protestant community came only five days after the civil government announced that the Eritrean Orthodox Church had elected a new patriarch, Bishop Dioskoros of Mendefera.

+ Compass News Direct, PO Box 27250, Santa Ana, CA 92799-7250
(949) 862-0304

+ Christian Solidarity Worldwide, PO Box 99, New Malden Surrey K3 3YF
+ United Kingdom <>


A report on Soulforce's Equality Ride to the outskirts of the Covenant College campus on 2 April 2007, appears at <> Soulforce <> is an organization with the stated purpose to "promote freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance." The Equality Ride < (> is a bus tour which is scheduled to visit over 30 college campuses during 2007 to promote Soulforce's cause and beliefs.

Now in its second year, the Equality Ride is sponsored by Soulforce, and claims to follow in the tradition of the freedom rides of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Most of the targeted campuses in the campaign are members of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Equality Ride's stated mission denounces Presbyterian beliefs as unbiblical and instead teaches that the Bible condones homosexual behavior. Though the Riders claimed dialogue as their goal, they previously rejected Covenant's offer of structured opportunities for dialogue with students, faculty, and administrators, as well as an invitation to attend chapel service. Instead, the Equality Riders chose to make an unauthorized visit to Covenant. After several hours of peaceful dialogue between the Equality Riders and the students who chose to go talk to them, the Riders made a statement in support of their mission to challenge Covenant's biblically-based beliefs, and then four Riders made the deliberate decision to trespass on Covenant's property, resulting in their arrests.

+ Soulforce, Inc., PO Box 3195, Lynchburg, VA 24503

+ Covenant College 14049 Scenic Highway Lookout Mountain, GA 30750-9901 (706) 820.1560


The Rev. David Wallace, dean of Atlanta's Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, has submitted his resignation, effective 31 Dec. 2007. Wallace has directed the affairs of the seminary since 1993. "David Wallace has been a faithful and passionate spokesman for Johnson C. Smith. His contributions culminated in the initiation of a major gifts campaign that includes the commitment of John Wieland to build a new facility for the seminary on the Interdenominational Theological Center campus," said the Rev. Eugene Turner, president of the seminary's board of trustees. The board will soon appoint a search committee to begin looking for Wallace's successor.

+ Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary, 700 Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr., SW Atlanta, GA 30314 (404) 527-7781


Patriarch Alexei II of the Russian Orthodox Church has made his first public appearance in Moscow following a swirl of recent rumors that he had died or fallen gravely ill while receiving medical treatment in Switzerland. He said the rumors may have been part of an effort to scuttle the scheduled Ascension Day reunion of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia on 17 May. [ENI]

+ Ecumenical News International, PO Box 2100, CH - 1211 Geneva 2

+ Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. 75 East 93rd Street, New York NY 10128 (212) 534-1601


Eleven German denominations -- including Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Anglican churches -- are to recognize formally each other's baptism, at an ecumenical ceremony in the eastern German city of Magdeburg. "As a sign of the unity of all Christians, baptism is a bond with Jesus Christ, the foundation of this unity," states a common declaration to be signed at the service on 29 April. "This mutual recognition of baptism is an expression of the bond of unity founded in Jesus Christ." [ENI]

+ Ecumenical News International, PO Box 2100, CH - 1211 Geneva 2


Reformed Christians in Poland have urged their government to do more to halt mass killings in Sudan's Darfur region by playing a stronger role in humanitarian affairs. "As citizens of a country on whose territory a terrible genocide was perpetrated by invaders more than half a century ago, we feel an even greater responsibility to do everything in our power to prevent a similar nightmare in other parts of the world," the Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland said. The pastoral situation of the Reformed Church has greatly improved in the last few years. With ten widely-scattered parishes and seven preaching stations, known as the "Diaspora," the church had in the former Communist years an aging clergy, empty pulpits, and difficulty encouraging a sufficient number of young men to answer the call to ministry and fill all its charges. It currently has eight pastors and five seminarians.

One of the major pastoral difficulties, however, is the geographical dispersion of the church. Of the ten parishes one is in Warsaw, six are at a distance of less than 90 miles west and southwest of Warsaw, and three are spread out over Silesia-- from 180 to 300 miles southwest of Warsaw. Yet most of the preaching stations are scattered throughout northwestern Poland. The pastor of the small parish in Zychlin, about 70 miles west of Warsaw, has a circuit of preaching stations which include Poznan, Szczecin, and Gdansk--a round trip of roughly 750 miles.

+ Evangelical Reformed Church in Poland, Bełchatów Reformed Church, ul.
Okrzei 1, 97- 400 Bełchatów, Poland


The Anderson School District in Greenville, South Carolina, has been ordered by a federal appeals court to pay us$99,776.74 in attorney's fees and costs for censoring Child Evangelism Fellowship. The court ruled in a unanimous 3-0 opinion, in Child Evangelism Fellowship v. Anderson School District Five, that the South Carolina school district violated CEF's constitutional rights by charging the group a fee while allowing other groups to use district facilities at no cost. Liberty Counsel represents CEF of South Carolina, which sponsors after-school "Good News Clubs" in elementary schools. CEF was charged a fee to use school facilities, although the district waived fees whenever deemed "in the best interest of the district." Fees were waived for the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCA, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the local Democratic Party, and a host of other groups, but no waiver was extended to the Good News Clubs. After filing suit, the district changed its policy and sought to "grandfather" free use to the previously authorized groups.

This case represents a significant legal precedent, because it requires speech-restrictive policies to contain clear standards to prevent government officials from engaging in viewpoint discrimination, much like the case law that has developed to govern prior restraints on speech.

+ Liberty Counsel, PO Box 540774, Orlando, FL 32854 (800) 671-1776